Harley Benton CST-24HB TOL Tobacco Flame

136

Electric Guitar

  • Chambered body
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Top: Flamed maple
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Neck attachment: Set-in
  • Fretboard: Pau Ferro
  • Neck profile: C
  • Fretboard radius: 350 mm
  • Frets: 24 Medium
  • Scale: 635 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Body binding: Ivory-coloured
  • Fretboard inlays: Tree-of-Life design, mother-of-pearl
  • Nut: ABS
  • Pickups: 2 Roswell LAF AlNiCo-5 humbuckers
  • 3-Way switch
  • Controls: Master volume, master tone with push/pull-function for coil split
  • Hardware: Deluxe chrome
  • Bridge: Wraparound
  • Machine heads: Deluxe diecast
  • Colour: Tobacco Sunburst High-Gloss
available since August 2014
Item number 339364
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Body Mahogany
Top Maple
Neck Mahogany
Frets 24
Scale 635 mm
Pickups HH
Tremolo No
Incl. Case No
Incl. Bag No
$238
The shipping costs are calculated on the checkout page.
In stock within 1-2 weeks
In stock within 1-2 weeks

This item is expected back in stock soon and can then be shipped immediately.

Standard Delivery Times
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Embarrassingly Good
Lestercaster 13.05.2020
Judging by my 3/2020 purchase, this is a great value, and a beautifully built instrument. Of the 4–5 semihollow guitars I've owned, this is the only one I've really loved, and wanted to play all the time.

Like the U.S.-made guitar that inspired it, it has nice acoustic chime, especially on chords, but also enough sustain on single-note lines to satisfy a solidbody player like me. Just don't expect this comfortable, compact body to sound as deep as a larger, more cumbersome ES-335–style guitar.

A few details I couldn't verify from other reviews: The top is nicely arched (not beveled), with arched fingers extending to the horns. The flame-maple veneer on my copy is almost bookmatched. The mahogany back also has some nice figuring under the deep stain, also almost bookmatched.

It looks like a 2-piece back, and I assume that both the back and the maple top are solid/carved wood. From another review, I learned that the center block and the mahogany rims are separate pieces of wood. So this is assembled like a 335, but (presumably) from solid wood pieces.

The neck is 3 pieces of mahogany, joined lengthwise, and stamped "Made in Vietnam." Given those details, and the improved quality control this copy suggests, I'm guessing that Thomann is now building them in the same Vietnamese factory that ESP uses for its LTD range. (I've played 5–6 EC-256's, including the one I own, and the build quality has been beautifully consistent across all of them.)

Unlike some reviews I've seen of earlier builds, the tree-of-life inlays on my copy are perfectly cut. They offer just stunning decoration and workmanship, especially this price. The only downside is that the jatoba fretboard is inherently duller in color than rosewood, so the inlays have less contrast here than they would have against rosewood. (Rosewood is finally exempted from CITES export restrictions, so maybe Thomann will switch to rosewood some day?)

The splittable Roswell LAF pickups are very high-quality for this price range. They're voiced for Les Pauls – so candidly, they don't sound as optimal on this semihollow as on my Harley Benton SC-450Plus (where they really shine). But they sound good enough that most purchasers will have no reason to replace them. The single-coil tones are surprisingly robust and viable, with a bit of gain. As with my SC-450Plus, this guitar's setup was perfect right out of the box.

The only problem with my copy was that the D string arrived buzzing like a sitar, along its entire length. Even the open string buzzed – which implied an incompletely cut slot at the wraparound bridge. Which is odd, because Thomann presumably inspected my B-Stock (returned) guitar before reselling it to me, yet somehow missed this.

Thomann says they've shipped me a replacement bridge, which is taking forever to arrive in the U.S. (As an alternative, they also offered to reimburse me for a repair by my luthier.) In the meantime, I've basically removed the buzz by deepening the bridge slot with a nail file.

A couple of final tips: The bridge's fixed intonation sounds fine, but you can buy a fully adjustable 6-saddle wraparound bridge at quite low cost. (The stock bridge appears to be a Wilkinson, and you can find Wilkinson as well as no-name options.) Also, if you buy a B-Stock copy, you're getting an extra level of inspection in Germany. They obviously missed my bridge's problem, but I'm confident Thomann wouldn't resell an instrument with serious cosmetic flaws (which have been a QC problem on past Harley Bentons shipped from China). Enjoy this axe!
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SF
Worth the Wait - Beautiful Guitar
Scott Fortlynne 05.03.2021
When I received the guitar from the post office, the box was was nearly folded in half. Taco'd. My heart sank. I was sure everything inside was damaged. That fear was relieved when I cut through the many layers of post office tape and got into the box. The cardboard guitar box was setting on top of the Gator hard-case and had an extra layer of paper stuffing which protected the guitar from the extreme damage on the outside. Whew! Close call! Not sure why they didn't place the guitar inside the guitar case for shipping... maybe if you order you can request it. But anyway, back to the guitar.

The first thing you notice is the tree inlay. It is beautiful. I read some reviews on earlier models which said that theirs was not very good quality up close. Well, the one I got is almost flawless. I think they are only available on the Tobacco flame model, hopefully they can expand to other models and colors because they are amazing. The inlays are completely flat against the fretboard and look great. You would have to use a magnifying glass to find any flaws, and then, you would have to be very picky. The tag on the back of the headstock indicates that mine was made in Indonesia (if that matters) I bet it would be hard to find a fretboard with this style and quality for less than the price of this entire guitar! The neck feels very comfortable, and the jumbo frets give everything a solid and precise feel. The fit and finish of the body is great. Again, very pretty. You can see a few wires through the bottom 'f' hole, but again, I am not too concerned with that - just stick a finger in there and push them out of the way.

The sound you get from the CST is great. Action very low. Lower than my tele, which just had a pro set up. Easy The bridge is kind of weird. Only 2 strings are intonate-able. Strings stay in tune. Again. I haven't done anything to set up this guitar, and probably won't need to. We'll see how it handles the climate change after a few months, but the build quality is so high, I don't expect anything drastic.

The short and long of it is: Want a semi-hollow body PRS-style guitar? Have about $250 to spare? Get one! (or 2!)
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Excellent for the price
My name is not Nick 20.03.2022
I was a bit apprehensive ordering this. I figured with the additional scope of the inlays on the neck, the rest of the fit and finish would suffer...I was wrong. Frets are nice and level, and polished well. The edges are polished without any sign of damage on the fret board.

The TOL inlay is very well done here, shocking for a guitar of this price point. I don't see any sign of filler or glue. The f holes are just 'ok'. Not completely even and some roughness to one (like an accidental swipe with some tool perhaps) but these are trivial and aren't visible except up close inspection. General finish is 8/10 I'd say.

Wiring is good, and the switch and pots work as expected (no noise turning the pots or cutting off from the switch position)

Intonation is slightly off in the default bridge position with the truss set (neck almost flat). About 5 cents at the 12th fret across the board. That is a good consistency though as you could move the bridge back slightly with the set screws (which are missing). This is something I don't like about wrap around bridges in general is the lack of fine adjustments possible, but for this particular guitar pretty good and correctable.

Random thoughts...

Stays in tune pretty well, but could benefit from better tuners, I think.

Balanced, not neck heavy.

Sound is subjective of course but I think it sounds great and has a lot of versatility with all the coil splitting you can do. Pickups aren't as hot as my EC1000, but is not really a critique, just a difference. Plays pretty well and no string buzzing with the action set typically (kind of middle of the road factory settings).

At the end of the day, you get a lot for your money with this brand, at least from my limited experience. I'll definitely order again.
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Go and get it
Crazy Dutchman 02.08.2020
I was a in doubt for a very long time what guitar to order. I am playing for 45 years and needed a new guitar after a long pause....
For a long time I have ignored the HB guitars, since i have seen too many cheap copies, a waste of time and money. Till I discovered all the reviews of HB guitars and got blown away. I like jazz, blues and rock, so for the price decided to give it a try.
I opened the box and was surprised by the looks of this guitar. This one has the tree of life on the neck, it is amazing. There were no glue residues on the neck, very well done.
Playability was not great, but the neck was straight, 2 screw to adjest and it was playable. I brought it to a luthier and after that it had a perfect action.
The sounds on this guitar are amazing, since it has split coil. I can easily play John Mayer sounds on the neck pickup in single coil but also very good jazz and blues sounds.
This is an awesome guitar (for the money) if you are into blues, jazz and 70s rock.
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